About Me

Renee LaGue

Owner/Designer, Certified Arborist

When I was younger, I wasn't interested in landscape design, but I did love playing down by the creek, going camping with my family, and (when my nose wasn't in a book) I spent as much time outdoors as I could. I watched suburban sprawl and strip malls eat up the farm fields near my Ohio home and mourned their loss. I made it past college with the impression that landscape designers made strip malls prettier, that the work was about a certain kind of surficial beauty and tidiness without real substance, which was not what I was interested in at all.

I eventually came to the field after seven seasons of outdoor seasonal jobs including trail crew, invasive plant removal, sustainable vegetable farming, and fine gardening. At the same time I developed interests in permaculture, plant identification, tiny houses, green building, and environmental literature and philosophy. I love that my work has real benefits, restoring ecological function to landscapes while simultaneously better connecting people with nature. Over the years I've come to believe that beauty and novelty are also important, as they foster love, joy, delight, and affection for plants and natural spaces.

I am proud to work for clients with diverse backgrounds including people of color, the GBLT+ community, and other marginalized and under-represented communities. Unlike some designers, who will force-feed you "good taste" aka aspirational upper-middle-class Whiteness, I will work with you to design a landscape that works for you.

Topics of interest:

  • Foraging for wild edible plants and mushrooms
  • Native pollinator and habitat gardens
  • Cold-hardy succulents and cactuses, rock gardens (the gravel garden at Chanticleer in PA is highly recommended!)
  • Contorted/twisted plants
  • Fruit and nut trees and shrubs
  • Oddball/unloved plants like the Osage orange
  • Meadow/prairie restoration and lawn conversions
  • The relationship between indigenous peoples and plants
  • Mediterranean-inspired gardens for the East Coast
  • Environmental literature and philosophy, "nature writing"
  • Beech hedges, formal landscape design with native plants
  • The dynamic tension that occurs when wild, "messy" plants are grown in/around a very structured space (ex: The High Line)
  • "Old fashioned" gardens with showy blooms, including historic irises
  • Rain gardens and bioretention areas
  • Edible forest and wetland gardens
  • Plants with silver, bluish, and purple foliage
  • Dye and fiber/textile plants

Education & Certifications:

  • B.A. Oberlin College, Environmental Studies and Creative Writing, 2009
  • M.A. Conway School, Ecological Design and Planning, 2013
  • M.L.A. University of Maryland, Landscape Architecture, 2017
  • Certified Arborist, International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), 2021